Lost in Comerica Park

One of my favorite TV shows of all time was “Lost”. Jack, the main character of the show, had a tattoo on his shoulder of four Chinese characters that translated to “He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us.” That’s kind of how I felt at the Tigers/Blue Jays game yesterday at Comerica Park.

The older I get, the more I find myself not enjoying the game as much when I’m there in person. I mean, when I was a kid, there was nothing better than taking a trip to Tiger Stadium to see my heroes play. It was awesome to Your Young Party Host to see Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon, Jack Morris, and the rest up close.

As I got older, it was still great to see Dean Palmer, Bobby Higginson, Dmitri Young, and the assorted terrible characters of the 90’s and early 00’s Tiger teams, too, whether it be at the old park or at Comerica. And to be there during the ’06 playoffs and be in the middle of the mob scene when Magglio sent us to the World Series…it was magical.

But now, things are different. In the past couple years, my enjoyment at the games isn’t near what it used to be. I mean, I used to make it out to 8-12 games per season on average. But the last couple years, I’m down to 3 or 4. Maybe it’s me getting older. Maybe writing this blog is hurting my ability to enjoy the game as a fan. Maybe I’m just a miserable prick who hates everything like the old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn. But here’s a group of things that bother me about a day at the park in 2011. See if you get where I’m coming from.

I don’t like being outside in Michigan/Ohio.

Our weather sucks here. I’ve spent my entire life in Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan. And with the exception of around 4 weeks per year, the weather is one of two ways: freezing or sweltering. Seriously, it was 80+ degrees a couple days ago and at last night’s game, it got down to 44 degrees at its coldest. Eff that. I'm just now getting feeling back in my hands and feet.

I don’t like being cold. I am not the “Eat ‘em Up Tigers” guy and used to it. (By the way, I saw him last night and he seems to be doing well. How nice.) I’d much rather be sitting at home under a warm blanket listening to Rod Allen mispronounce player names while sipping on a nice beverage while my cat and/or son stares at me hoping they’ll get fed that day.

On the other side of the coin, I hate being hot even more. I don’t like to sweat unless I’m going through one of my phases where I’m jogging and trying to lose weight. And sitting in a seat, sweating in 90 degree heat, and smelling the thousands around me cooking in the sun with me is not my idea of a good time. Add in the fact that I do not tan, and it gets worse. My skin tone has only two colors, either “Chris Shelton-white” or “Cleveland Indians logo-red”. I sunburn quicker than Brandon Inge strikes out against Jon Lester.

And speaking of discomfort, the seating at any ballpark is always a chore for me. I’m nearly 6’5. That means I have very long legs with knees that ache from the four years I spent catching in my younger days. (At least that’s what I blame them on.) Baseball parks are built to cram as many assholes into the place as possible. They aren’t built for gigantic freaks of nature such as myself. Thus, I often spend much of the game wandering around the stadium like a moron.

I hate stupid people.

Just last night alone, these are the people I was surrounded by.

*In the first inning, Max Scherzer induced a routine pop up to the infield. Brandon Inge called everyone off and made the easy catch. The fuckface to my left jumps to his feet clapping his hands yelling, “That’s right, Brandon! Hell of a play! That’s why he’s the best defender in baseball, baby!”

It was a fucking pop up. Any 10 year old with a functioning upper torso would have made the play 9 out of 10 times. Add in the hundreds of high-pitched squeals from the crowd every time Brandon’s name was announced over the PA and it’s a wonder I didn’t end up beating anybody to death there last night.

*To my right were two old people waiting to die. One was keeping score, like the old folks and OED Jen like to do, and kept pointing out and READING ALOUD everything that came up on the Comerica Park scoreboard. “It’s Dirks’ MLB debut.” “Inge is hitting two oh whatever.” “The donut beat the bagel and the coffee in the race.” After the seventh or eighth time he mentioned that the scoreboard read “44 degrees” to his half-dead buddy, I wanted to rip my seat out from the concrete and club him to death with it.

*In front of me were two attractive girls with their dates that looked like rejects from “Jersey Shore”. The hair, the clothes, the douchebag way they kept high-fiving…ugh, I’m getting old. I just turned 34 and I feel like I'm 64. Time is passing me by, I guess.

*Behind me was the obligatory group of drunken assholes. Making it worse, they were Blue Jay fans. They were shitfaced by the fifth inning which made it even more annoying when they kept heckling Miguel Cabrera for supposedly being a drunk. I can’t remember the last ballgame that I’ve attended that didn’t have a group of drunk, cursing, assbags behind me. This is one of the main reasons that I’ve yet to take my 7 year old to a game. Though I tend to use words like “fuck” on this blog more than the average stoner says “dude”, around my kid I try to keep my vocabulary PG rated. I’m terrified that if I take the boy to a game, Daddy’s going to end up being dragged off by security for kicking some lush in the dick after he drops his tenth F-bomb by the 2nd inning.

*To the front and right of me was some clueless ass who kept jabbering to his friend and it was obvious he didn’t know what he was talking about. He was talking about the players like he was Peter Gammons and meanwhile, when Jhonny Peralta comes to the plate, he says “When did we get this guy?”

Now, look. I don’t expect every fan in the place to know Brennan Boesch’s current OPS when he steps into the box. But at least know that Craig Monroe isn’t on the team anymore when you loudly blab away like you’re ESPN’s Buster Olney, okay? Good gawd…

*Every other inning, some prick in my row had to get up and go wander off to get food, take a piss, turn a trick behind the Ty Cobb statue, whatever. So, everyone in the row has to stand up while they slowly make their way by. This happens…I understand. But don’t do it when the game is going on. Wait until the inning is over. It’s rude and one of these times I’m going to strangle a motherfucker.

*I was sitting in the section of the opera singing vender. When I invent a time machine, the first thing I’m going to do is go back in time and convince his mother to have an abortion.

I’m a cheap bastard.

I’m not going to complain about ticket prices. I have no issue with that. And as ridiculous as parking can be, I know an awesome spot near the park that is only $10. I can deal with that, too. No, it’s once you’re inside the stadium that you get raped worse than the girls with the “Jersey Shore” guys probably did after the game.

*I think it’s $7.50-$9.00 for a beer depending where you are in the park. I run a bar in Michigan about 45 minutes south of Detroit. The cost for draft beer works out to 3.4 cents per ounce when we buy kegs. For a 20 ounce beer, which is what I believe how they sell it at Comerica, that’s 68 cents. Now, of course, there’s markup, spillage to take into account, and other things, but most bars will sell a 20 ounce domestic draft beer for around $3.00. $8.00 for piss beer is a crime against humanity. Thus, I rarely drink when I’m at a ballgame.

Here's a quick side-note on drinking at the park.  If you're like me, and for Higgy's sake I hope you're not, after three beers, it's potty time.  When I drink beer, it seems like I have to take a leak every 20 minutes.  I'm like an infant with a bladder infection.  At the CoPa when it's more than half full...well, good luck.  There aren't nearly enough bathrooms in the place.  Last year on Opening Day, the lines for the men's room were like the bread lines in Russia.  You end up missing two innings just trying to take a piss.  And if you're drinking, you might as well get back in line when you're done because by the time you reach the restroom again, you'll probably have to go once more.  It's a vicious cycle.

*Food is just as bad. A shitty hot dog for $4.00? No thanks. At least Progressive Field in Cleveland offers kick-ass stadium mustard that almost makes it worth it. Comerica has cafeteria condiments. And seeing as how I worked at Little Caesars for a few years when I was a kid, I know how that horrible stuff is made. I’m not paying more than the clown making it earns for minimum wage for a slice of that dogshit.

*I went into one of the Tiger shops and thought about getting a jersey/t-shirt of Austin Jackson or Scott Sizemore. I was checking out one of Scotty Size and saw that it was $28. For a crappy, normally $12 t-shirt. Screw that.

*And the worst thing of all lurks behind the stands on the first base side. They have a memorabilia area where you can buy autographed pictures, bats, etc. All of them are grossly overpriced, but the most amazing pieces of all were the “game used” baseballs they have on display. One of them was labeled “Vlad Guerrero foul ball”. It was $50. Another was “Miguel Cabrera single”. $100. For baseballs. These weren’t important balls like “Magglio’s 300th home run” or “ball that hit Don Kelly in the nuts”. They were just regular balls that happened to get used. I was in shock.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is fuck you, Comerica Park.

Am I just a cranky, jaded prick? Well, yeah, I guess I come off that way. But with today’s television viewing advancing every year with HD, multiple instant replay angles, Fox-Mo, and the best seat in the house, give me one good reason why one would be motivated to, in my case, drive an hour to the park, pay for parking, pay for a ticket, sit with mouth-breathing cockwallets, freeze/sweat my balls off, and get my wallet emptied in case I get hungry or thirsty while I piss my pants?

I think I’ll stick with Rod and Mario from now on for the most part. I’ll still make a yearly trek to the ballpark or two, but it’s just not the same for me anymore.

Guess I just blew any opportunity of getting a marketing job with the Tigers.  Darn...